I stood on the scale in the bathroom, fresh from a shower and full of optimism. I looked down in anticipation, surely I had lost something, 2 or 4 or 5 pounds. The same number stared back at me resolutely. Impossibly high, surely it has to be a cruel joke? It stared up at my face as if mocking me for believing that anything could change. So I got dressed, did my hair and makeup, and tried to shrug it off.
I ran more miles than ever, in a shorter amount of time. 30 seconds cut from a mile, not a big deal to some but huge for me. I did countless repetitions with low weights, to tone, not bulk up. I tried an exercise I’ve never done before, one that requires more balance than I’ve ever had in my life, I tried over and over again to just do 1, to stay steady on the stability ball, tuck those knees in…push them back out. I did 3 of those. I was happy with that number.
I raced around the house, pedometer on my wrist. 14,000 steps, 15 flights of stairs, 6 hours of sleep. 1500 calories. Don’t stop, don’t rest, gotta keep going! 4 no 5 days a week, 30 minutes a day. Rinse and repeat.
I tried on a pair of jeans, was this for real?! A moment of sweet victory, a size down, 12 not 14. I relished in the momentary feeling of thinness. The simple joy of a goal being met. The shirts my friend handed to me, Large not Extra Large, they all fit me. This has never happened before.
I sat on the couch talking to my husband, “I’ve lost 5 pounds,” he said. “Wow honey that’s great!” my reply hung in the air between us as I tried not to be jealous, to look disappointed, to cry in frustration. To remember my joy from just a few hours before.
I play the numbers game. I race against myself day after day, trying to beat my own weakness. To master impulses that have gotten me through years of stress. I plaster a smile on my face and move on when the scale doesn’t reflect how I feel inside, I cry tears of joy when the next mile comes as easily as the last, when my pants are a little looser than before.
I count the days, the hours, the minutes. Steps. Heart Rate. Calorie Intake. BMI. There’s a number for everything.
A voice cries out to me, “Be still!” I rest. I reflect. And realize, this game of numbers is just that, a game. A competition against myself in which I can be the only winner, and I cannot lose. Every single thing I do to be healthier, every choice I make, is another step towards being my best self. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. As a distance runner I am familiar with these terms. To pace oneself. To let body master mind and impulses. I can do this.
It may take years. It may take months. It may hurt and get boring and frustrating. I can do this. The number on the scale? It isn’t everything. Just a small part of a larger picture. In the grand scheme of things, it means very little.
This is me in a pair of size 12 jeans from Express, down 3 pant sizes since having Lily. I may not be where I want to be yet, but I’m also closer to my goal than ever! For now, I’ll be happy with this progress and I’ll keep smiling.
Photo Credit: https://weilos.com/